CPC Plant Profile: Cushenbury Oxytheca
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Plant Profile

Cushenbury Oxytheca (Acanthoscyphus parishii var. goodmaniana)

Flowers of Cushenbury oxytheca Photo Credit: Scott Eliason
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 157108
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 06/01/2017

Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana (Cushenbury oxytheca) is a small wiry annual in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). The flowers consist of six small white petals (technically sepals) with reddish midribs that are found in clusters of three to twelve. Populations of O. parishii var. goodmaniana occur on limestone or a mixed lithology of limestone and dolomite (Tierra Madre Consulting 1992). Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana was federally listed in 1994 along with four other plant species that also grow on carbonate substrate. The five carbonate endemic plants species are restricted to limestone, dolomite, or other carbonate rock substrates of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 1 accessions of Acanthoscyphus parishii var. goodmaniana in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 2303 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/12/2020
  • Demographic Research

There has been limited investigation on the biology and ecology of O. parishii var. goodmaniana. Ongoing revegetation trials on former limestone quarry sites provide some insight into community ecology on carbonate substrates, and surveys conducted on the San Bernardino National Forest have expanded knowledge of these species distribution patterns (USFWS 1997, Soza 1998).

  • 08/12/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Establish and maintain a genetically representative seed bank.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 1 seed accessions of Acanthoscyphus parishii var. goodmaniana from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 60 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Restricted to a carbonate belt in the northeastern San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. Approximately 14 occurrences are believed extant (with another 1 historical and 1 of unknown status) within an area of approximately 165 square kilometers. Population size was estimated to be 20,000-35,000 plants, although it fluctuates greatly from year to year, so is likely significantly less in some years. Habitat destruction and degradation associated with limestone mining is the major threat to this taxon. Lesser threats include off-highway vehicle use, recreational and urban development, potential power line and hydroelectric development projects, and extirpation from random events since plant numbers fluctuate widely. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2002) has designated Critical Habitat and the U.S. Forest Service has developed the Carbonate Habitat Management Strategy (2003) with the aim of mitigating these threats.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The primary threat to O. parishii var. goodmaniana is limestone mining in the region. Open terraced mining, overburden dumping, and road construction all result in destruction of habitat for these carbonate endemic plant species. Off highway vehicle use

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The estimated number of plants in 1990 was fewer than 3,000, in the four known populations at the time. There are currently 16 occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB 2007), however 50 occurrences were documented in 1998 (Soza 1998). Because O. parishii var. goodmaniana is an annual species, the number of individuals fluctuates from year to year depending on the winter and spring rainfall and temperatures favorable for germination and seedling establishment (USFWS 1997).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

There has been limited investigation on the biology and ecology of O. parishii var. goodmaniana. Ongoing revegetation trials on former limestone quarry sites provide some insight into community ecology on carbonate substrates, and surveys conducted on the San Bernardino National Forest have expanded knowledge of these species distribution patterns (USFWS 1997, Soza 1998).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The primary conservation strategy for O. parishii var. goodmaniana is to implement the Carbonate Habitat Management Strategy and to improve knowledge of its distribution. Critical habitat for O. parishii var. goodmaniana was designated by the USFWS in 2002 (USDA FS 2007).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs that have been identified by the USFWS include protection of significant extant populations by developing a reserve system on federally owned land of occupied areas, buffer zones, and habitat connections; restoring habitat, reintroduction efforts and enhancing populations; monitoring populations; and conducting surveys and taxonomic assessments to locate new populations and resolve questions about the identity of several existing populations (USFWS 1997).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Establish and maintain a genetically representative seed bank.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Acanthoscyphus parishii var. goodmaniana
Authority (Ertter) Reveal
Family Polygonaceae
CPC Number 12918
ITIS 823883
USDA OXPAG
Common Names Cushenberry oxytheca
Associated Scientific Names Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana | Acanthoscyphus parishii var. goodmaniana
Distribution Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana is endemic to the western half of the carbonate belt on the north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. Populations are distribu
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana occurs on limestone or a mixed lithology of limestone and dolomite often on steep and loose scree slopes (Tierra Madre Consulting 1992, USDA FS 2007). Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana grows in areas characterized by an open canopy with little to no accumulation of organic material.

Ecological Relationships

Among the gaps of ecological understanding for Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana and the other carbonate endemics is the lack of information about pollination ecology, seed dispersal mechanisms, and seed bank dynamics. However based on limited observations in the summer of 1998, it appears that insect pollinators of this species are generalists, such as various flies and possibly small bees (USDA FS 2007).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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